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Serena Williams' new Nike ad is incredibly empowering

I’m proving time and time again there’s no wrong way to be a woman.

SERENA WILLIAMS HAS long been an inspiration to women around the world.

BNP Paribas Open - Day 3 Source: Kevork Djansezian

She has been World No.1 in singles tennis 8 separate times in the last 15 years as well as winning 39 Grand Slam titles throughout her career with 23 of those being singles titles.

In fact she’s the only tennis player ever to have won 2 Grand Slams (Wimbledon and the Australian Open) 7 times each. She won a Grand Slam when she was 3 months pregnant for gods sake. Basically the woman is unstoppable.

Source: GIPHY

Now she’s released a new ad in partnership with her long time sponsor Nike entitled ‘Until We All Win’ and it’s inspirational as hell.

In the ad Williams addresses much of the criticism that has been leveled at her over the years from her body shape to the colour of her skin.

In the ad William’s narrates over footage of her winning title after title on the tennis court. She describes many insults that have been hurled at her over the years.

Source: Nike/YouTube

I’ve never been the right kind of woman. Oversized and overconfident. Too mean if I don’t smile. Too black for my tennis whites. Too motivated for motherhood, but I’m proving time and time again there’s no wrong way to be a woman.

The words are simple in themselves but is a stark reminder of how much criticism a woman at the top of her profession can receive for simply not smiling as much as people would like or being perceived as too career-focused instead of wanting a child.

Source: GIPHY

It just shows that even if you’re one of the most decorated tennis players in history, people will always find something to throw at you, particularly if you’re a woman.

It’s a simple 30 second ad with a strong message that challenges many of the gender stereotypes we all absorbed growing up in our society.

Source: GIPHY

The video is a welcome addition to William’s ever-growing portfolio as an activist. In 2016 she came out in support of Black Lives Matter in an emotional post on Facebook.

In January of this year, she wrote another personal post about the difficulties she faced while giving birth to her daughter including having to advocate for her own blood test to confirm a pulmonary embolism during her emergency Cesarean section.

These aren’t just stories: according to the CDC, (Center for Disease Control) black women are over 3 times more likely than White women to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes. We have a lot of work to do as a nation and I hope my story can inspire a conversation that gets us to close this gap.

2018 Fed Cup First Round - Team USA v the Netherlands Serena Williams' husband Alexis Ohanian (C) holds baby Alexis Olympia. Source: Richard Shiro

Given her persona and worldwide appeal it’s refreshing to see a female athlete with as much power as Serena challenging long outdated stereotypes and proving that there’s no wrong way to be a woman. It’s also incredibly refreshing that she is refusing to shy away from difficult social topics and isn’t afraid to speak up for those without a voice.

Having nearly died giving birth, Serena is back competing in tennis and will compete against her sister Venus in third round of the Indian Wells Masters in California tomorrow. Here’s hoping she’s around at the top for a good while longer.

 

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About the author:

Rachel O'Neill

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